What is Fibromyalgia?
The severity of fibromyalgia symptoms varies from person to person and often symptoms disappear and then return. Fibromyalgia is characterized by long term and widespread pain in muscles and connective tissues without any specific cause. Research has shown that fibromyalgia may actually amplify pain by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals.
In addition to pain, common fibromyalgia symptoms include:
• Memory issues
• Sleep disorders
• Cramping in the lower abdomen
• Brain fog
Does Diet Contribute to Fibromyalgia?
According to a recent dietary survey of 101 fibromyalgia patients published in Rheumatology International, about 7% had food allergies or intolerances and 30% had made changes in their diet to help their condition.
While there is no specific diet recommended for fibromyalgia treatment, says Rainia Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist in San Francisco, poor food choices can indirectly affect fibromyalgia.
Recommendations to Help Heal Fibromyalgia
Foods To Avoid Or Eliminate
Foods To Include
• Lots of veggies
These foods are high in Omega 3 fatty-acids known to reduce inflammation, chronic pain and help prevent cardiovascular diseases. A 2007 study found that after just 3 months of supplementing omega-3 fatty acids, symptoms such as morning stiffness and painful tender joints decreased.
Supplements To Take
• Folic Acid
Reduce Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress may be a cause of Fibromyalgia symptoms. Oxidative stress occurs when the body doesn’t have enough antioxidants to combat free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unbalanced molecules naturally produced in the body when oxygen is used up. They cause cell damage to your body when in excess amounts. Most fruits and veggies are packed with important antioxidants like vitamin A, C, & E.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency can mimic some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. All patients should be screened for deficiency. Studies show that vitamin D deficiencies can cause bone and muscle pain, and upping levels of this hard to get vitamin may help. A 2008 study found that pain patients with low levels of vitamin D required almost double the dose of painkillers as those with adequate levels. It is recommended to take a supplement, especially during the winter.